2012 has already started with a life changing event. My Grandpa on my Mom's side passed away. He actually got sick at the end of 2011 but came home for New Years day which happens to be his birthday. He was able to celebrate at home with his family but sadly went back into the hospital and wasn't able to recover. When his time came he was surrounded by his family and my Mom was even able to be there on the phone. Just thinking about it still chokes me up and makes me sad that I hadn't made it out to see him more often in the past few years. I am very grateful that we ended up choosing the cruise around Hawaii for our honeymoon because we were able to visit and Joe was able to meet my grandparents at least once.

My Grandpa was a very talented man. He made these awesome canoes out of Koa wood scraps. (I recall my Mom telling me it's illegal to cut down a Koa tree but there are ways you can get scraps of the wood and that's what he used.)

This is the canoe he gave to Joe and I when we were on our honeymoon. It was so awesome because it's something I know he made so lovingly with his own two hands. He made them in his little wood shop area in the yard. I always remember him being out there working on something every time we went to visit. I knew he also made bigger canoes but I didn't know just how beautiful and exquisite his work was until I saw some pictures that my Uncle Terry took while he was out there for the funeral. He had some special canoes that he wanted all the family members to have so this pictures was taken then.

I like this picture because I can recognize some of my relatives and I see the side of my Mom's face and my brother in the background. My family was actually going to come out to Vegas to visit us and Russell but when my Grandpa passed they flew out to Hawaii instead. I heard that lots of the relatives made it out for the funeral and that they had lots of food and well wishes from all the folks who knew my Grandpa. My Mom said he was always doing good things for others including helping to coordinate the ongoing clean up and maintenance of the Buddhist cemetery where he is now buried. He was the youngest of all his siblings so I know his family who have already passed were there waiting to welcome him to Heaven.

We are all worried about my Grandma and how she'll hold up with him being gone. Luckily she lives in the house with my cousin and his family (husband, wife and 3 kids) and my Aunt and Uncle. I am glad she has family so close because she was actually sick off and on through last year.

Anyway, I didn't want to dwell on being sad for this post. I wanted to remember the good times and the memories I will always treasure. In the past year I have learned just how precious life is. Nothing is guaranteed. I want to try and always remember to be my best because you never know when it will be your time to go. So, happy things... Here are some of my favorite memories...
I remember when I was younger going out to Hawaii every few years to visit the relatives. We'd stay at my Grandparents house which was always a treat. I remember being able to sit on their back porch and watch the sun set over the ocean. You can see the Captian Cook memorial from up there which is really cool. (THIS picture was taken across from the memorial on our honeymoon.)

I always remember getting eaten alive by the mosquitoes the first day we'd arrive. When I was younger they would eat me to pieces but after a couple days it would seem like you'd adjust or the mosquitoes would mostly move on.
I remember one year when we went and there was a meteor shower. It was one of those times when every few seconds you could see shooting stars. It was amazing sitting on my Grandparents driveway in the perfect darkness just enjoying the show. (They live in Kona and where their house is at there aren't a ton of city lights or anything else so it was easy to watch the sky.)
I remember one year we went out and got to watch the total solar eclipse. I remember in all the stores there were special glasses you could wear so you could watch the eclipse without burning your eyeballs basically. I still remember how cool it all looked.

I remember one year I lost a tooth there. It came out and I actually lost it on the stairs. Who knows if anyone ever stumbled upon it but I guess that's a freebie for the Tooth Fairy.

I remember all the fun and yummy foods we got to eat there. Picking up lychee at a roadside stand, eating fresh macadamia nuts off the tree in their yard and all the yummy fresh fruits we could get. I especially loved the mango and pineapple. YUM! Oh and yummy cakes and luau food. Ah I could eat Hawaiian food every day and not get sick of it.

I remember going to the beach. Going fishing with my cousins. I remember snorkeling at the beach my brother and I always called the 'shave ice beach' because there was a stand that sold yummy shaved ice and we'd get some while we were there. (We had to have some shaved ice while we were there. It was SO good!)

I miss my Grandpa and I think about him almost every day. I think about how I wish I had gone out to see them more often or even just called or sent letters. I am really glad we sent them a photobook about Russell and his birth for Christmas. Even though he wasn't able to meet Russell in person at least he got to read his birth story and see the pictures of him.

Could have, should have, would have... There will always be reasons to feel guilty or second guess life's decisions but I suppose in the end you can't change the past. All you can do is change how you are in the present which then effects your future. Even if you watch the news for one day it becomes apparent that life is not guaranteed and that any of us could go at any time. You always hope you'll make it through a long and happy life but I hope that I can learn to better live each day in the present so that whenever it's my time to go I won't have any regrets and will know that my last interactions with others were kind and full of love and happiness. I know I'll still have bad days but I hope that the good ones outnumber the bad. I'll always remember my Grandpa and I hope that wherever he is he's happy and looking down on us. I love you Grandpa and miss you.


  1. Heather~ I am so sorry about your grandpa.
    Thank you for sharing so many memories. I love the beautiful wooden boats ~ So much talent.
    Thinking of you! Sending you a big hug!

  2. Thank you. My Grandpa was so talented and kind. I am surprised by how often I end up thinking about him and the wonderful memories I have. We are of course also thinking about my Grandma too since she has been sick the past year. I am hoping she is holding up and am grateful she has family with her. I am realizing how important it is to enjoy life and make good memories because in the end it's all you have.


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